4 Common Shipping Disasters We’ve All Encountered (and How to Avoid Them)!

in Business

When it comes to freight forwarding and shipping, there are so many things that can go wrong. Whether it’s mistakes made by your own personnel or problems with your suppliers and vendors, there are certain aspects of the process that can often seem out of your control.

But while there will be the odd unforeseen obstacle or freak disaster that you can’t control, there are many things you can and should do to minimise risks and ensure that your freight and delivery operations run as smoothly as possible. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at four common shipping disasters and how you can avoid them!

Warehousing inefficiencies

Business owners and managers often assume that freight and shipping only involves the combination of land, sea and air transport co-ordination. But in reality, effective supply chain management actually starts much closer to home, in your own warehouse or storage facility.

In order to see your goods transported and delivered effectively, you need to ensure that your warehouse and inventory operations are streamlined first. This will save you time, money and labour in the long run.

To ensure that your warehouse or storage facility is operating effectively (and cost effectively), you need to take regular and thorough inventory. You need to know exactly what is in your facility at any given time as well as when it is due to leave. Effective warehouse management will ensure that your shipping procedures go off to a good start.

Third Party Logistics

You can control your own personnel and procedures until you are blue in the face, but unless your third party vendors and suppliers are as organised as you, you are going to encounter some issues. But constantly chasing and coordinating other companies to ensure that they don’t negatively affect your processes is not effective use of your time. And that’s where using a Third Party Logistics (3PL) company can make all the difference.

3PL companies like Stockwell International specialise in streamlining the way your business communicates with and operates alongside its vendors. By managing and centralise vendor positioning, negotiating workable terms of trade and improving communications (including foreign language barriers), they minimise the risk of delays and other issues. This in turn ensure that your entire supply chain procedures, including freight forwarding and shipping, run smoothly.

Customs Mistakes

Different countries and states have different customs procedures. Particularly if you are shipping internationally, you need to make sure that you are up to date with customs and quarantine entry requirements as well as tariff concessions and other relevant import documentation. Failure to do so can cause significant delays to the shipping process.

Again, this may not be your area of expertise so you may wish to partner with a shipping company who specialise in customs brokerage.

Delays at port

Whether it’s a customs issue or a transport logistics issue, significant delays can occur at port. In order to avoid these, you may wish to consider using a company with their own dedicated port transport division and trucks in the area. Using companies with local transport, knowledge and connections will same you so much time and hassle which will ultimately save you money. 


Every now and again, a glitch in the supply chain is inevitable but there are things you can do to minimise this risk. Unless you have your own team of in-house specialists however, your best option is to hire experts to coordinate this on your behalf. Whilst they worry about keeping up with customs requirements and chasing third party vendors, you can focus on what you do best, which is running your business!

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